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Ukrainian citizen files first ever criminal complaint in Argentinian court concerning his torture in Russian-occupied territories

Tuesday, 16 April 2024, 10:04
Ukrainian citizen files first ever criminal complaint in Argentinian court concerning his torture in Russian-occupied territories
Photo: Public Interest Journalism Lab

A Ukrainian citizen, whose name has not been disclosed, has filed the first ever lawsuit with the Federal Court of Argentina regarding the torture he experienced in the Russian-occupied territory of Ukraine.

Source: The Reckoning Project; Public Interest Journalism Lab (PIJL); Reuters

Quote from the PIJL: "On April 15th, The Reckoning Project (TRP), an initiative of Ukrainian and international reporters and lawyers to document war crimes, together with the victim, a Ukrainian citizen, present in person in Buenos Aires, submitted a criminal complaint to the Argentine Federal Judiciary. The case concerns the torture of a Ukrainian civilian by Russians in one of the cities they occupied."


Details: In this filing, Mr M. (whose name has been withheld for security reasons) has requested the Federal Court to investigate the torture inflicted on him by Russian officials and persons associated with them who tortured him and assisted in the torture, some of whom have been identified and others who are unnamed.

Mr M. said that he was electrocuted after being detained by Russian occupation forces in a Russian-controlled Ukrainian city.

Reuters reported that the complaint says electric cables were attached to the man’s ear and finger to pass a shock through his body. He and others were held in cells 10 metres squared, with 12-20 people per cell, the complaint alleges.

"His evidence was corroborated by findings of international organizations, including the United Nations, that documented similar instances of torture upon other individuals in the same facility. Mr M’s torture was materially assisted by the presence and operation of Russian-linked entities and those in charge therein," the PIJL said.

Reuters reported that the complaint shows that Mr M. accuses one named person, two identified by their call signs or military insignia, and others who are unnamed of using electrocution and unlawful imprisonment as forms of torture in mid to late 2022.

"I was detained at work. Then they tortured me. They used electric shocks [...] It was incredibly painful, so I lost consciousness. I was lucky to survive. Many people are still there," Mr M. told Reuters in an interview in a Buenos Aires apartment ahead of the filing.

The Russian Ministry of Defence declined to comment.

Quote from the PIJL: "The Constitution of Argentina allows its courts, on the basis of universal jurisdiction, to try international crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes, irrespective of where they took place. Over the years, Argentina has taken a leading role in the fight against impunity both domestically and internationally, including by opening investigations under the principle of universal jurisdiction arising from different country contexts. Its judiciary has delivered landmark cases on the crime of torture. Therefore, The Reckoning Project team decided to file the complaint in Argentina."

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